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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2017 Somalia: Real time evaluation of UNICEF SCO humanitarian response to the pre-famine crisis

Author: Paul Crook; Mohamed Haji Ibrahim; Giorgio Ferrari

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 4’


During 2016 and 2017, the humanitarian situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate because of the poor rains in successful Gu and Deyr seasons of 2016 and 2017, causing widespread food insecurity, deepening health, nutritional and water related issues and exacerbated by large-scale movement of people. In response, UNICEF declared a L-2 emergency in February and developed a 45-day scale up plan for implementation March-April 2017. The plan addressed operational systems, staffing and supplies management in a holistic manner; all building on work underway and already scaled up during 2016. UNICEF greatly increased its response across sectors, supporting health and nutrition service delivery, accessibility of safe water and sanitation and reinvigorating protection services after a slight hiatus whilst continuing the support of children with sustained education interventions given fresh perspective due to the emergency processes.


• To assess the extent to which the preparedness activities have fed into the current emergency response noting this is reliant on the strategy, planning and implementation of scaling up existing operations.
• To take stock of and document learning around the current emergency response for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 August 2017 highlighting the appropriateness, efficiency and effectiveness of the response, particularly against the 45-day plan targets, to inform current and future programming


The evaluation used desk reviewed of key documents to gather information during the planning phase. UNICEF staff and implementing partner staff were also interviewed. The team conducted field visits and interviews at service delivery points and enumerators visited sample of locations of service delivery point based on UNICEF advice, to observe and conduct questionnaires with beneficiaries

Findings and Conclusions:

• UNICEF scaled up substantially with variation between and inside sectors with the necessary prioritisation of life-saving services over longer-term goals.
• Beneficiaries and implementing partners (IPs) working in the field mention needs in WASH, nutrition, and health care, which confirms the priority given by UNICEF to these sectors.
• The September malnutrition indicators were higher than in January when the L-2 was declared.
• UNICEF’s work in the cholera response is highly commended for forestalling deaths, controlling the epidemic.
• The rise of measles during the year together with low availability of vaccines and immunisation kits is noted, alongside plans to undertake a health cluster mass vaccination campaign (to be tied with further work on birth registration)
• UNICEF strength and forward thinking in terms of establishing hubs, shortening supply chains and delegating responsibilities with regard to PCAs paid dividends.
• Beneficiaries and local institutions have expressed unanimous satisfaction of UNICEF support. UNICEF support and delivery of supplies to IPs has been widely appreciated and positive.
• UNICEF work on advocacy has also been praised for being able to mobilise timely donors support to save lives
• Scale up allowed response in a timely and effective way. The UNICEF overall engagement has, without doubt, saved lives.
• There remain gaps in the frequency of service provision in hard-to-reach areas.
• UNICEF’ response in 2017 prioritised life-saving activities over resilience and sustainability, which should be the focus moving forward.
• UNICEF’ response is currently largely not sustainable for laying down resilience to further cyclical climatic and conflict related emergencies.
• The expansion of humanitarian access has been one of main factors in determining a much-improved response (from 2011).
• Turning humanitarian access into ease of movement and access to market could be a link between humanitarian and development programming


1. UNICEF Somalia should expedite the convergence approach building integrated programming as a key objective to achieve outcomes in the 2018-2021 strategy.
2. UNICEF should work on critical enablers of programme delivery: risk management and security.
3. Undertake a comprehensive gap analysis of the capacity of government and local government.
4. This is a chronic, protracted set of crises and 72 hours might not be feasible in the majority of large-scale crises.
5. UNICEF should leverage its lead position in the WASH, Nutrition and Education clusters, and critical player in the Health and Protection / Child Protection cluster, to advocate for advancement on how the cluster system is to develop breaking the silo approach now becoming apparent in Somalia operations
6. Somalia Country Office should strengthen the MEL framework and baseline for resilience, which is currently not included in the results framework
7. UNICEF should strengthen feedback loops directly from beneficiaries and government
8. UNICEF should strengthen control of proposals to donors –
9. UNICEF should build on the key areas of work where it has critical competences to address root causes of cyclical crises:

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